Miralem Pjanić is a Bosnian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team. During his time with Roma he was nicknamed “il Piccolo Principe” (“the Little Prince”, in reference, at the time, to his young age and apprenticeship relation with “Re di Roma” (“the King of Rome”), Francesco Totti; Bosnian: “Mali Princ”), the name which also stuck with Bosnia and Herzegovina football fans and media, while in Turin he is affectionately called “Il Pianista” (“the Pianist”; Bosnian: “Pijanist”; in reference to his surname and his creative role on the pitch). Pjanić started his professional career at Metz being there for one season. He signed for side Lyon in 2008 before signing for Roma in 2011 after three seasons at Lyon. During his time in Rome, he became one of the best midfielders in Serie A causing Juventus to sign him in 2016. Pjanić has since been considered an integral player for Juventus, winning two Serie A’s and Coppa Italia’s and being named in the Serie A Team of the Year twice: 2015–16 and 2016–17. He was also named in the UEFA Champions League Team of the Season in 2016–17, for his role in Juventus’s run to the final of the competition. A former Luxembourgish youth international, Pjanić made his senior international debut for Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2008, earning over 80 caps and scoring 12 goals since. He represented the nation at their first major tournament, the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In 2015, he was ranked 55th in The Guardian’s list of “The 100 best footballers in the world”.
Match Worn Boots
Juventus F.C. – Bosnia-Herzegovina National Team
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On 13 June 2016, Pjanić joined Juventus on a five-year contract for a fee of €32 million, ending a five-year stint with Roma. He chose the number 5 shirt to start the new season. On 10 September, Pjanić scored on his debut in a 3–1 home win over Sassuolo. After winning Coppa Italia and Serie A in his first season, he missed out on treble, having lost in the Champions League Final to Real Madrid. Nicknamed “il Piccolo Principe” (“the Little Prince”) during his time with Roma, Pjanić was regarded as one of the most promising young midfielders of his generation in his youth, and was included in Don Balón’s list of the 100 best young players in the world in 2010. His Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri touted him as a potentially world class midfielder in 2016, later also adding that, although he was extremely talented, he needed to stay more “calm and focused” in order to fulfil his potential; consequently, the 2016–17 season saw him establish himself as one of the best midfielders in Europe. Although he is neither particularly quick, nor gifted with athleticism or physical strength, Pjanić has been described as an efficient “old-fashioned playmaker with huge technical qualities”. A talented, creative and tenacious midfielder, Pjanić is usually deployed in a central midfield role, or as a deep-lying playmaker in front of the back-line, although his tactical versatility, defensive awareness, and work-rate enable him to play in several midfield positions, and he has also been deployed in more advanced roles as an attacking midfielder, and even as a second striker on occasion. Pjanić’s main attributes are his range of passing, dribbling skills, and vision, which make him an excellent assist provider, and also enable him to dictate the tempo of his team’s play in midfield and orchestrate goalscoring opportunities for his teammates. Known for his eye for goal from midfield and striking ability from distance, Pjanić is also known for having the capacity to get into good scoring positions by making late attacking runs into the penalty area from behind. A renowned set-piece specialist, he is highly regarded for his accurate, bending free-kicks, as well as his delivery from dead-ball situations; in 2015, he was described as the best free-kick taker in the world by renowned set-piece specialist and former Lyon teammate Juninho. Pjanić’s precocious talent, playmaking skills, and ability to score many goals from free kicks saw him labelled as a potential heir to Juninho at Lyon.
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Pjanić was born on 2 April 1990 in Tuzla, SFR Yugoslavia, present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina, to father Fahrudin and mother Fatima. He developed an interest in football through his father, a former third division footballer in Yugoslavia, and began his football career in Luxembourg following his family’s arrival to the country shortly before the outbreak of the Bosnian War. While in Luxembourg, Pjanić often attended training sessions and matches with his father. At the age of seven, his father discovered that he had the talent and an interest in football and allowed his son to join local club FC Schifflange 95 in Schifflange. While at Schifflange, Pjanić drew interest from several Belgian, Dutch and German clubs, but agreed to join Metz in France in 2004. Pjanić was recommended to Metz by its former player, Luxembourg international Guy Hellers. Due to spending his childhood in Luxembourg, Pjanić became eligible for their national team and begun representing the nation’s youth sides. He represented Luxembourg in the 2006 European Under-17 Championship, for which Luxembourg qualified automatically as hosts. He scored Luxembourg’s only goal of the tournament. In that same year, he scored 4 goals in a match against Belgium, which ended in a 5–5 draw. Before making his decision regarding his national team status, Pjanić was eligible to represent Luxembourg and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In May 2008, during an interview for Bosnian newspaper, Pjanić stated that he wanted to play for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Eventually, officials in the Football Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina took notice and Pjanić was called-up to the country’s under-21 team. However, because Pjanić no longer had a Bosnian passport and needed FIFA approval to switch nationalities, he wasn’t allowed to be called-up for the senior team. After an eight-month wait and following the involvement of Željko Komšić, a member of the three-person Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Pjanić received a Bosnian passport in early 2008. He debuted for Bosnia and Herzegovina on 20 August 2008 in the team’s 1–2 loss to Bulgaria. On 3 March 2010, he scored his first senior international goal in Bosnia’s 2–1 win over Ghana in Sarajevo. Pjanić was instrumental in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s qualification for 2014 FIFA World Cup, their first major competition, and he was named in 23-men squad for the tournament. He debuted in the team’s opening group match, a narrow defeat to Argentina at the Estádio do Maracanã. On 25 June, during the final group match against Iran, Pjanić scored a goal, leading to a 3–1 victory to help Bosnia and Herzegovina to their first ever FIFA World Cup win. Pjanić is a Muslim. He has a son named Edin with his longtime girlfriend, Josepha from Nice. Along with his native Bosnian, Pjanić is fluent in 5 additional languages: Luxembourgish, French, English, German and Italian. Pjanić is enrolled at the University of Sarajevo, majoring in sport and physical education. Throughout the 2017–18 season, Pjanić appeared in the Netflix docu-series called First Team: Juventus.